Lives of the fellows

Suhbas Chandra Raychoudhury

b.18 January 1925 d.1 February 1992
MB BS Calcutta(1951) MRCPE(1965) MRCP(1966) FRCP(1979)

Ray, as he was affectionately known to all his friends, was born in Calcutta, India, the son of Ramesh Chandra Raychoudhury, a consultant engineer. He began his medical career in Calcutta, where he was a distinguished student as a memorial scholar and subsequently gold medallist in medicine. After junior appointments in his teaching hospital, the Medical College Hospital of the University of Calcutta, he came to England in 1955. He rapidly integrated into British medicine, progressing to senior registrar and then consultant posts in hospitals in London and Essex.

A sound general physician, Ray’s main interest always remained in infectious diseases of which he had had wide experience in India. He played an important part in the management of the busy respiratory units at Rush Green and St Ann’s Hospitals which were set up in the 1950s to cope with the poliomyelitis epidemic.

A delightful and unassuming colleague, Ray was always able to support his view with quietly reasoned argument. Not a committee man, his interest lay in the wards with his patients and not in medical politics. He loved teaching and will long be remembered with affection by generations of students from the Middlesex Hospital and Bart’s for his enthusiastic discussions at the bedside.

Sadly, the last years of Ray’s professional life were increasingly restricted by severe heart disease for which cardiac transplantation was seriously considered. He managed to continue carrying out his duties until retirement and never complained.

An enthusiastic sportsman in his youth, representing his college at both cricket and hockey, he followed these and others sports with enthusiasm until his death. Fortunately many of his interests were sedentary ones and his ill health never interfered with one of his great loves - Indian classical music. An excellent bridge player, partnering him was always a delight. He would bid at times with apparent extravagance and then achieve his contract by an uncanny skill of hand-playing, seeming to know where the opponents cards lay. Success would be followed by a broad grin and an explanation of how it was done. Latterly bridge was largely replaced by his other great hobby, chess. When no friends were available as opponents he was able to achieve the intellectual stimulus he needed by pitting his wits against a computer.

A much loved and loving husband and father, Ray was survived by his wife Ramola, whom he married in 1959, and his two children - a son and a daughter. Although they did not follow their father into medicine he was justly proud of their progress in their chosen professions. At the end, Ray died peacefully in his chair while looking forward to watching a snooker match on television.

D McKendrick

(Volume IX, page 439)

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